The Bug Doctor: Adam Villareal, owner and president of Insight Pest Solutions, entomology nerd, and family man. To help demystify the world of bugs, the Bug Doctor answers your questions during our weekly “Ask the Bug Dr.” blog feature. You can submit your bug and pest control inquiries for him on our Facebook page, by tweeting @insightpest, or commenting below.
What do I do if I have a tick infestation?
Ticks can transmit Lyme disease and other illnesses, so it’s important that you take measures to protect yourself and your family from them.
Ticks are external parasites, not insects, and they require a blood meal to survive and reproduce.
Some common species of ticks:
Left: Lone star tick / Right: American dog tick. Photo credit: Jerry Kirkhart
You may already know how to be on alert when you’re hiking or spending time in wooded areas, ticks can also make themselves at home in your own lawn or yard.
How can you prevent a tick infestation? Follow these tips.
- Ticks are sensitive to dry conditions. They do not love living in short vegetation. So, keep your grass and lawn well-maintained.
- Clean up materials that can attract rodents which can carry ticks. These include spilled birdseed and old wood piles.
- Remove brush and leaf litter close to your house
If you see ticks:
- Around your property in vegetation: You may want to use insecticides labeled for tick control in small areas of high weeds once or twice per season. Treat crawl spaces, outdoor walls and cracks and crevices only if you find ticks there.
- On your pets (especially those that primarily live outside): Contact your veterinarian to find out how to treat your animal.
- Indoors: Vacuum them up and seal the vacuum bag before throwing it away. Only the brown dog tick can establish indoors. Treat cracks and crevices and the locations where pets spend the most time, like sleeping areas.
When to contact a physician after a tick bite:
- If you experience fever/chills
- If you experience headache, fatigue and muscle aches
- If you see a circular rash at the site of the tick bite, a skin ulcer on the site, or flat, pink, non-itchy spots on the wrist, forearms and ankles.
If you have a severe tick infestation around your home, we suggest you hire a professional pest control company to take care of the problem.
“Prevention & Control: Common Ticks,” Illinois Department of Public Health
“Symptoms of Tickborne Illness,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
“Ticks around your home,” Clemson University
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Posted in: Ask the Bug Doctor